Circumvent Scrooge by Giving the Greatest Gift of All: Sincere Appreciation

December 22, 2011

Earlier this year, the state of Alabama determined that a teacher who accepts a Christmas turkey, gift card or any item with a specific monetary value from a student is breaking the state’s ethics law.  The penalty is up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine for the teacher who accepts the gift.

Many parents, teachers and others were appalled upon hearing the decision.  Amy O’Neal, a teacher at Pine Crest Elementary School stated, “The bottom line for me is, our teachers are being forced to make a decision between breaking the law or breaking a child’s heart.”  Not so fast…Items of nominal value, such as homemade baked goods and coffee mugs are permissible, however an acceptable dollar amount for student-teacher gifts was not provided.

While the law sounds somewhat vague, one thing is clear: Everyone longs to feel important at home and in the workplace.  William James, often referred to as the father of American psychology, once said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”  It’s no surprise that when one searches ‘ways to show appreciation,’ there are over 3 million Google search results.

So, save your homemade pasta sauce or ginger lemon scrub for yourself to use and opt instead to show honest, sincere appreciation as frequently as possible to the people for whom you are grateful; teachers, colleagues, clients, vendors, etc.  It’s FREE and FEELS GOOD!

Here are four FREE ways to apply Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principle #2 is, “Give honest, sincere appreciation.”

  1. Praise a specific action that a coworker has done well.  It is critical to be specific so as to show sincerity.
  2. Give thanks for jobs big and small.  Managers expect that employees pour their hearts and souls into every task, pitch, presentation, project, etc. however this is often not the case.  Employees who receive appreciation on a consistent basis are more likely to take pride in everything for which they are responsible.
  3. If possible, offer employees flexible scheduling during the holidays and/or summer.  Many companies now offer ‘summer hours’ which can consist of half days every other Friday or perhaps one Friday per summer month.  Employees will return to work more refreshed than usual and will be eager to get back to work.
  4. Create and distribute silly or serious awards.  Either a manager could determine who should receive which award or allow employees to vote.  Silly awards such as ‘Most Likely to Arrive Early,’ or ‘Leader, leader of them all,’ are both fun to create and give to worthy employees.

It can be extremely costly to buy gifts for employees, and even teachers which is now somewhat illegal in the state of Alabama.  By showing appreciation every day, everyone for whom you are grateful will feel valued and be more likely to remain committed to their employers…and their students!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA

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